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date: 20 April 2021


  • Margaret Cranmer


English firm of piano makers. In 1837 John Hopkinson (b Chatham, 5 Dec 1811; d Criccieth, 4 April 1886) became a music professor in Leeds; his brother James joined him in new premises at 6 Commercial Street by 1841. The 1842 directory also lists them as music sellers and publishers; by 1845 they were advertising their own microchordon, cottage, semi-cabinet and cabinet pianos. Piano making became their sole activity by 1900.

In 1846 John opened a factory in London, James staying in Leeds until 1856, when another brother took over. Business flourished, and in 1851 they advertised in London (at 6 and 7 Store Street), claiming that their pianos were 30–40% cheaper than most other first-class instruments. In 1851 Hopkinson patented a grand piano action, whereby a ‘tremolo’ like that on a violin could be produced (patent no.13,652); such an instrument with 6⅞ octaves ‘in a neat plain mahogany case’ cost 110 guineas....

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